Rebecca Ruth Gould is a writer, translator, and Professor of Islamic Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Birmingham. Her academic interests are the Caucasus, Comparative Literature, Islam, Islamic Law, Islamic Studies, Persian literature, Poetics and Poetry. Her PhD dissertation focused on Persian prison poetry, and was published in revised form as The Persian Prison Poem: Sovereignty and the Political Imagination (2021). Her articles have received awards from English PEN, the International Society for Intellectual History’s Charles Schmitt Prize, the Modern Language Association’s Florence Howe Award for Feminist Scholarship, and the British Association for American Studies’ Arthur Miller Centre Essay Prize. Gould's work also deals with legal theory and the theory of racism, and she has become an influential critic of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's Working Definition of Antisemitism. 
Gould was born and educated in the United States. Gould received her BA in Comparative Literature and Slavic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. After working in publishing for a few years, Gould moved to Tbilisi, Georgia in 2004, where she learned Georgian and started to learn Persian. Having lived for two years in Tbilisi, she returned to the United States where she started her PhD at Columbia University's Institute for Comparative Literature and Society and the Department for Middle East, South Asian, & African Studies.
Gould has conducted fieldwork and research in numerous countries and regions, including Iran, Georgia, Syria, Azerbaijan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan, India, Egypt, Palestine and Tajikistan. In addition to the University of Birmingham, she has taught at Columbia University, Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and the University of Bristol. She has also been an associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University. The literatures Gould has published on include Persian (classical and modern), Georgian (modern and early modern), Russian, Arabic (classical and modern), and American (Thoreau, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Edith Wharton). Her work has been translated into many languages, including Arabic, Persian, Chinese, Russian, German, French, Spanish, Polish, and Portuguese. She is director of the European Research Council-funded project “Global Literary Theory” and has also received funding from the British Academy, the British Library, the British Council, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. She has held external fellowships with the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute, Central European University’s Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Forum for Transregional Studies (Berlin).
Gould's first book was Writers and Rebels: The Literatures of Insurgency in the Caucasus (Yale University Press, 2016), which was awarded the University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies and the best book award by the Association for Women in Slavic Studies.
Norihiro Naganawa has described Writers and Rebels as "an astonishing book mediating between spheres that scholars have otherwise explored separately." Mary Childs has written that Gould's "interdisciplinary approach is essential to a more nuanced understanding of the cultures—Chechen and Daghestani, in particular—that tend to get tossed into a single Caucasus basket."
Gould is also a poet, short story, and creative nonfiction writer. Her first poetry collection Cityscapes (2019) was followed by the chapbook Beautiful English (2021). Her essay “Watching Chekhov in Tehran” was runner-up for the Beechmore Books Arts Journalism Competition in 2020. Her poetry and translations have been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize.
Gould translates from Persian, Georgian, and Russian. Her translations include The Death of Bagrat Zakharych and other stories by Vazha-Pshavela (2019), After Tomorrow the Days Disappear: Ghazals and Other Poems of Hasan Sijzi of Delhi (2016), and Prose of the Mountains: Tales of the Caucasus (2015). Her most recently translations with Iranian poet and scholar Kayvan Tahmasebian include High Tide of the Eyes: Poems by Bijan Elahi (2019) and House Arrest: Poems of Hasan Alizadeh (2022), was awarded a PEN Translates Award from English PEN. Gould is also co-editor with Tahmasebian of the Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism (2020).
A fraction of Gould's works:
- Erasing Palestine: Free Speech and Palestinian Freedom (London and New York: Verso Books, 2023)
- Persian Prison Poem: Sovereignty and the Political Imagination (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2021)
- Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus (Yale University Press, 2016).
- Routledge Handbook of Translation and Activism, co-editor with Kayvan Tahmasebian (2020)
- Enchanting Literary Modernity: Idris Bazorkin’s Postcolonial Soviet Pastoral, Modern Language Review 15(2): 405-428 (2020)
- The Persianate Cosmology of Historical Inquiry in the Caucasus: ʿAbbās Qulī Āghā Bākīkhānūf’s Cosmological Cosmopolitanism, Comparative Literature 71(3): 272-297. (2019)
- Memorializing Akhundzadeh: Contradictory Cosmopolitanism and Post-Soviet Narcissism in Old Tbilisi, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies 20(4): 488-509. (2018)
- (co-authored with Shamil Shikhaliev), Beyond the Taqlīd/Ijtihād Dichotomy: Daghestani Legal Thought under Russian Rule, Islamic Law and Society 24(1-2): 142-169. (2017)
- The Persian Translation of Arabic Aesthetics: Rādūyānī’s Rhetorical Renaissance, Rhetorica: A Journal of the History of Rhetoric 33(4): 339-371. (2016)
- The Critique of Religion as Political Critique: Mīrzā Fatḥ ʿAlī Ākhūndzāda’s Pre-Islamic Xenology, Intellectual History Review 26(2): 171-184. (2016)
- Ijtihād against Madhhab: Legal Hybridity and the Meanings of Modernity in Early Modern Daghestan, Comparative Studies in Society and History 57(1): 35-66 (2015).
- The Geographies of ʿAjam: The Circulation of Persian Poetry from South Asia to the Caucasus, The Medieval History Journal 18(1): 87-119. (2015).
- Why Daghestan is Good to Think: Moshe Gammer, Daghestan, and Global Islamic History, in Written Culture in Daghestan, ed. Moshe Gammer (Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, 2015), 17-40.
- The Lonely Hero and Chechen Modernity: Interpreting the Story of Gekha the Abrek, Journal of Folklore Research 51(2): 199-222. (2014)
- Aleksandre Qazbegi’s Mountaineer Prosaics: The Anticolonial Vernacular on Georgian-Chechen Borderlands, Ab Imperio: Studies of New Imperial History in the Post-Soviet Space 15 (1): 361-390. (2014)
- The Death of Caucasus Philology: Towards a Discipline Beyond Areal Divides, Iran and the Caucasus 17(3): 275-293 (2013)
- The Modernity of Premodern Islam in Contemporary Daghestan, Contemporary Islam: Dynamics of Muslim Life 5(2): 161-183. (2011)
- Secularism and Belief in Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge, Journal of Islamic Studies 22(3): 339-373 (2011).
- University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies
- Best book award by the Association for Women in Slavic Studies
- International Society for Intellectual History’s Charles Schmitt Prize
- Modern Language Association’s Florence Howe Award for Feminist Scholarship
- British Association for American Studies’ Arthur Miller Centre Essay Prize
- International Society for Intellectual History’s Charles Schmitt Prize
- PEN Translates Award (English PEN)
- "Rebecca Ruth Gould". Hcommons.org. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
- "The Persian Prison Poem". edinburghuniversitypress.com. Retrieved 12 March 2022.
- Gould, Rebecca (2 April 2016). "Intellectual History Review". tandfonline.com. 26 (2): 171–184. doi:10.1080/17496977.2016.1144420. S2CID 147780901. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
- "The Women's Caucus for the Modern Languages Association". WCML.org. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
- "British Association for American Studies". baas.ac.uk. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
- "Erasing Palestine: Free Speech and Palestinian Freedom". Verso Books. Retrieved 27 September 2022.
- "Professor Rebecca Gould". Birmingham.ac.uk. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
- "Citations for Past Winners of the USC Book Prize | ASEEES".
- "Heldt Prizes". awsshome.org. Retrieved 13 December 2020.
- "Norihiro Naganawa in H-Nationalism". H-net.org. Retrieved 12 December 2020.
- Childs, Mary (2018). "Writers and Rebels: The Literature of Insurgency in the Caucasus". Modern Language Quarterly. 79 (2): 230–232. doi:10.1215/00267929-4368254. S2CID 165930391.
- "Beechmore Books Arts Journalism Competition". BeechmoreBooks.com. Retrieved 13 December 2020.